Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team rallied to score seven goals in the final 16 minutes of the game, but ran out of time against playoff-bound Seneca Valley in a 13-10 loss Thursday night.
Pine-Richland fell to 6-4 overall and remained eligible for the playoffs, but lost the chance to control its post-season destiny.
The Rams came back from an 11-3 third-quarter deficit under the lights at Pine-Richland Stadium.
“I’m proud of our boys,” Rams coach Jim Vollberg said. “They didn’t put their heads down and fought to the end.
“Seneca Valley is one of the top teams in the area, and our kids hung right with them,” he said. “We picked it up in the fourth quarter. I’ve seen teams score four goals in a minute, so it can be done.”
Pine-Richland senior attacker scored four times, starting with a goal with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter to cut the Raiders’ lead to 9-3.
Mincer, who has 31 goals this season, scored three times in the final three minutes and seven seconds of the game. He scored the last goal with eight seconds remaining.
“If we had another quarter, I think we would have had them,” Vollberg said with a smile.
The game marked the return of Pine-Richland junior defenseman Matt Mahood, who missed the opening weeks of lacrosse action after suffering torn ligaments in his right knee during football season. Mahood was the only sophomore to earn All-Section honors in lacrosse last season.
“He’s kind of our field general on defense,” Vollberg said. “He’s the guy who takes control and points out where the slides are going. He knows what’s going on. Our players know Matt will be there to back them up. He takes care of business.”
Vollberg said the late rally ignited when Pine-Richland stopped running set plays and began creating space and improvising opportunities.
“I think we could have done a lot better,” Mahood said. “We threw the ball away too many times on clears and didn’t possess the ball on offense.
“But we came back in the fourth quarter and proved that we wanted it, but we didn’t play with that type of passion the whole game,” he said. “We kept up with them. We were making them shoot from the outside.”
Ian Walters scored twice for Pine-Richland, including a goal with 11:14 left to play that started the final push and cut the deficit to 11-4.
Jeremy Zang added a pair of key goals for the Rams which kept the momentum going in the fourth quarter, and Chase Takacs scored Pine-Richland’s first two goals.
For the opening three quarters, Seneca Valley’s boys lacrosse team demonstrated why it advanced all the way to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association semi-finals last season. The Raiders used a relentless offensive attack and a stubborn defense to build the lead.
Pine-Richland’s rally, however, wasn’t what Raiders coach Peet Poillon was expecting from his pressure-tested team known for finishing strong.
With big games against Franklin Regional and North Allegheny coming up next week, Poillon said the game should serve as a wake-up call before the playoffs.
“We’re a really good team when we put it all together and play as a team,” Poillon said. “Going down the stretch the rest of the season, we’re going to have to play a full 48-minute game.
“But we’re in the playoffs now, and that’s good news,” he said. “We’ve just got to continue to get better if we want to have success in the playoffs.”
Seneca Valley moved to 3-0 against WPIAL opponents and 6-5 overall in a season that has included numerous games against top teams from neighboring states.
Junior attacker David Hall led Seneca Valley with four goals.